On wanting cake

Apple season is here and I’ve been searching for the perfect apple cake. I didn’t want a cake that was vaguely reminiscent of apple—I wanted a cake that was chock-full of the tart chunks of fruit, well-spiced and wholesome.

I looked at a handful of recipes and made a couple flops (of one of the duds, Yo-Yo said, This cake doesn’t have any flavor; it’s just stuff against your tongue), and then I spied a recipe for apple cake in our local paper. The recipe itself didn’t strike me as being a winner, but after studying it for a bit, I realized that it provided the perfect groundwork for some culinary imagination.

So I commenced to imagining and measuring, tweaking and stirring, hoping and waiting (and washing up the dirty dishes). Just so you can fully appreciate my culinary genius (ha!): I subbed half of the white flour for whole wheat, cut the sugar in half and switched to brown, doubled the apples, dialed back the nutmeg, glugged in some blackstrap, and tossed in the yogurt, ginger, and wheat germ. It was fun.

Then, finally, I tasted. And what do you know? I got what I was looking for!

Moral of the tale? It pays to have an imagination.

Apple Cake
Wildly adapted from The Amish Cook

This cake is a humble affair, nubbly, nutty, and nutritious, but a dollop of whipped cream dresses it up just enough to make it presentable for company. I dimpled the top of the cake with a slurry of melted butter and brown sugar, but it wasn’t necessary (though it did add a sweet goo factor) so I didn’t include that part in the instructions.

It’s muffins you’re wanting? Then spoon the batter into muffin tins and sprinkle with a crumb topping of your choosing.

1 cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons raw wheat germ
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons minced candied ginger
½ cup canola oil
½ cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups chopped tart apples (cored and peeled)
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup golden raisins

In a large bowl, stir together the first nine ingredients (through the candied ginger). In another bowl stir together the oil, yogurt, eggs, molasses, and vanilla. Add the wets to the dries and mix gently. Add the apples, walnuts, and raisins and stir to incorporate.

Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan (use a rubber spatula to spread it evenly) and bake the cake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Serve with billows of whipped cream.

About One Year Ago: Another fall cake, Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.


  • Jennifer Jo

    Did YOU like it? (It looks good and I'm game for trying it, but first I have to eat a hot-diggity-dog Italian Cream Cake that I made this morning.)

  • tiney little bother

    I accidentally made an apple cake recently when I tried to make a carrot cake and noticed that I had enough apples but not enough carrots. I'd like to see your written opinion on this carrot cake recipe substituting apples (slightly more than called for, and possibly chopped instead of grated), it's the first recipe that comes up when you google "carrot cake."

  • It's me ...Mavis

    I borrowed this book from the libary just last week….I really liked it. I copied down the recipe for the peanut butter cups and am planning on making them this weekend. Maybe I'll have to add the apple cake to my list too.

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